Photo Credit: ISL Media Twitter
Weekend wrap-up of ISL 2020-21 Matchday 7: Mumbai breeze past Hyderabad, Kerala and East Bengal share spoils
Mumbai City FC continues their dream run while East Bengal's quest for their first win in the league is still not over. Mumbai City FC defeated Hyderabad FC by 2-0 on Sunday evening at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco.
The first blood was drawn by Vignesh Dakshinamurthy in the 38th minute when the Indian international volleyed a ball cushioned into his path by Bipin Singh from an Ahmed Jahouh cross with his left foot past Subrata Paul.
The lead was further extended in the second half by Adam le Fondre who received a ball from Rowllin Borges inside the box and finished it perfectly into the back of the net.
Mumbai City FC head coach Sergio Lobera was happy with the team’s improvements, “I am very happy because we improved a lot compared to the last game. We created chances and we finished well. I am very happy because the team performed well,” he said.
He went on to explain how his side beat Hyderabad. “I think we managed the situations during the game very well. We knew that they are a team that is very comfortable with the ball and we needed to try and win possession of the ball. It was very important to have the ball, create chances and we managed the game well against a very good team today,” Lobera added.
On Boumous being pulled out of the squad just before the match, he said, “Boumous has recovered from his injury. We spoke to the medical staff and it was decided that he could have played for 60 minutes but he felt some problem during the warm-up and I think it’s important to avoid risks and so we decided to change the player before the game.”
Lobera however added that Mumbai aren’t just about one player. “We have a very good squad and not just one player. All the players are working really well. Players from the first XI, players from the bench and I think we don’t just depend on a few players. The most important thing is the squad, and I am very happy with the performance today,” he insisted.
Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez acknowledged that MCFC played much better, “Today the quality of Mumbai was very good. They had a very good high-press, especially in the first half. We couldn’t play our normal football, our typical football, our style. I think that they deserved to win the game. We improved in the second half, especially just when they scored the second goal, our team was playing better. But Mumbai’s a very strong team and I think it’s a fair score,” he said.
The coach wants to learn from the defeat and improve, “It was a good lesson for us today. But I think there are plenty of positives that we can take from the first five games. But when you win, lose or draw, you have to prepare and learn from the mistakes in the next training. For me, today we played against the favourites for the title in the regular season. Let’s see what happens in the semis,” Marquez said.
In the second encounter, SC East Bengal were held for a 1-1 draw at the GMC Bambolim Stadium.
The Robbie Fowler-led side drew the first blood as early as in the 13th minute of the match when Jacques Maghoma threaded a neat pass to Mohammed Rafique, who tried to cross the ball inside the box to Anthony Pilkington but Bakary Kone in his attempt to intercept, put the ball into the back of his own net.
Blasters had to toil hard and wait for as late as in the fourth minute of the added injury time to earn the equalizer, when substitute Sahal Abdul Samad’s cross was headed into the back of the net by a thumping header by Jeakson Singh, much to the agony of SC East Bengal who almost had the first win of the season.
Kerala Blasters head coach was elated after his team salvaged a point, “It was a deserved goal that Jeakson scored. I am proud of the players in terms of the attitude and the fighting spirit that we saw till the end of the second half. We wanted the three points and our first victory. We showed that we can create chances and play well, we can take the three points in the next match.”
The former Mohun Bagan coach was also of the opinion that this was his side’s best performance this season. “We wanted to have the ball more than the opponent and we had it. We created chances and we had different possibilities and I think that this was the best match we have played,” said Vicuna.
Meanwhile, SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler was disappointed with the outcome, “We are disappointed. It was a game that we dominated and should have won. We had enough chances to win [the game] more than once. We have proved again that we can compete and create chances but we need to be more clinical in the final third,” he said.
The Englishman however heaped praise on Anthony Pilkington. “He brings a lot of quality. He is a great player as was demonstrated tonight. He has been one of our better players this season. He can bring others into the game and he puts in a good work ethic,” said the English head coach.